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Should You Treat a Verruca if You're Diabetic?

Verrucas can be easy to pick up and hard to get rid of. If you have a painful verruca on one of your feet, then you may have popped to the chemist to buy a treatment. However, when you read the pack, you notice that it is not recommended for use by diabetics. Why?

Common Verruca Treatments

Over the counter verruca treatments work in a couple of ways. Some products, like gels, contain salicylic acid. This acid basically breaks down skin cells. When you apply the gel to a verruca, the acid eats away at the verruca's skin layers. Ultimately, as the verruca loses its structure, it disappears, allowing normal skin to grow again.

Some verruca treatments use freezing techniques to target the viruses that make up verrucas. Here, you usually spray the verruca – the spray freezes the area and kills the verruca's virus cells. You get a blister over the verruca, which then falls off naturally after a while.

While both treatments can remove verrucas, both can cause problems for people with diabetes. However, the treatments aren't the problem, it's the way your diabetes may affect your feet.

Verruca Treatments and Diabetes

Some people with diabetes develop problems with their feet. For example, your condition can reduce natural blood flow into your lower legs and feet. You can also develop diabetic neuropathy where your nerves don't work correctly. If you have this, then your feet lose some of their sensory protection. For example, you don't notice pain, heat or cold as much as you should.

So, if you use a topical verruca gel and the gel burns away too much healthy skin around your verruca, then you may not feel the pain and notice the problem. The same goes for freezing sprays. It's easy to use too much spray if you can't feel the cold, which could cause freezer burns on your feet.

While this damage may not be an issue for someone without diabetes, it can pose problems for you. If your diabetes has reduced your circulation, then wounds or burns on your feet may not get the help they need to heal quickly and effectively. Without treatment, they may even get worse and turn into a bigger problem.

If you have a verruca and you're a diabetic, then make an appointment with a podiatrist. Podiatrists can compensate for reduced circulation and neuropathy problems when they treat verrucas, so you can get rid of your verruca without causing any damage.